Cumby head coach sees positives in his first season with new team

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

Aug. 6, 2007 - CUMBY - Cumby's first-year coach Edward Perez has been impressed with the first two days of Trojans practices as the team looks to head back to the Class A state playoffs this season.

With 36 players out for two-a-day practices, Perez has seen plenty of enthusiasm following a 6-5 Div. II bi-district playoff season under coach Kent Hawthorne last year.

"I have been really delighted with the practices so far," Perez said. "Everything has gone pretty smooth and the coaches have worked really hard at getting everything together. It is running a lot smoother than I expected and everything is going really well."

"What I am looking for is for the enthusiasm to stay up during the rest of the practices like it has been. They were really excited on the first day of practice, and even though the soreness will kick in tomorrow we will see how they do."

With the loss of All-State quarterback Brixx Hawthorne - who transferred to Weimar when his father Kent took the head coaching job there during the offseason - Perez and offensive coordinator Gary Parrish have been looking for a replacement at quarterback.

Junior Timmy Cook will take over the reigns after playing his first two seasons at wide receiver and defensive back for the Trojans, and Perez said he has made the transition to quarterback as smoothly as possible.

"Timmy Cook is going to be the quarterback," the coach said. "He has been stepping up and working all summer and is doing a good job. He has been a leader with our summer conditioning program and has been throwing when he gets the chance."

The line will also be another area that Perez, who coaches the offensive and defensive linemen, is pleased with during the first two days and knows they will be a factor in how running backs Rodney Hobbs, C.J. Ringenberg, Ryan Vaughn and Shane Partridge run the football this year.

"Line-wise is going to be one of our stronger points on the team," the coach said. "If they can just gel together and understand what we are teaching them, then they are going to be great."

"Skill-wise we have quite a few kids that are coming back from a good system that Coach Hawthorne put in before he left and they have some good experience and are looking really good."

With their practices starting at 7:30 a.m. and wrapping up around 1:30 p.m. everyday, the team is working on conditioning drills first and taking plenty of breaks during the day.

"We are conditioning at the very start of practice and then we go into our offensive and defensive stations depending on which group is practicing first. We then give them an hour break after that," Perez said.

"We give them breaks throughout workouts but we also have the water boys that are out here going to each station. We are making sure that they are not having to wait until the break, but that the water boys are providingwater for them."

The Trojans are preparing for the first day of full-contact drills Friday morning and that will be when Perez will decide who actually wants to play.

"The first day (of contact drills) is always the best since the players are so fired up and ready to go," he said. "When the boys are in shirts and shorts, there is only so much that you can get done. When we put on the pads, that is when we start separating the men from the boys and we will start to see who wants to play and where they will play."

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